Almost all wines naturally contain small amounts of sulfites, but some winemakers also add sulfites to preserve the wine while it’s in the bottle. While many people tolerate sulfites, those who are sensitive may find it hard to enjoy a glass of vino without suffering from headaches and other side effects. Luckily, the best wine sulfite removers can filter or neutralize significant amounts of sulfites in a quick and convenient way — in case you're at a party or restaurant — and with minimal influence on taste and aroma.
If you’re sensitive to sulfites, you might experience headaches after drinking a glass of wine, but other potential side effects include flushing, stomach pain, digestive issues, and — in those with asthma — respiratory irritation. But keep in mind: There are other compounds naturally found in wine that cause similar reactions, like histamines and tannins, which is why I've included filters that remove those as well. Of course, a general alcohol intolerance might also be what’s triggering your headaches and allergic reactions — if that’s the case, a sulfite remover won’t help. (And a word to the wise: Hives, swelling, and trouble breathing might indicate a severe allergic reaction, in which case you should see a doctor.)
In this roundup, I've included a variety of products for removing sulfites from wine. All of them are easy to use (and most of them are portable), so you'll just need to decide which method is most convenient for you and whether or not you want to reduce histamines and tannins while you're at it.
The best wine sulfite removers can help you get back to swilling your Spanish Tempranillo quickly — without the unpleasant side effects.
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1. A Sulfite-Removing Wand That Also Removes Histamines
With over 1,000 reviews, these wine wands are a clearly a fan favorite for filtering wine. Small enough to stash in your purse, the wands help reduce sulfites and histamines, and reviewers report no change to the flavor of the wine.
However, this is one of the more time-consuming methods on the list: Place the wand in a glass of wine, then swirl and soak for at least three minutes to remove approximately 50% of sulfites and histamines. If you want to remove more, let it soak for up to eight minutes.
The wands are sold in packs of three, eight, 24, and 72, and many reviewers say one wand can be used on two glasses of wine.
According to wine lovers: “This product is awesome. Swish it in your wine for a couple minutes and drink. It doesn’t affect the taste of the wine at all. Results: Flat-out works. No headaches or histamine response from American wine!"
2. These Drops That Neutralizes Sulfites & Reduces Tannins
Made with food-grade hydrogen peroxide — which oxidizes sulfites to prevent side effects — these wine sulfite remover drops are a fast and easy way to neutralize sulfites and reduce tannins. The drops also contain natural egg white protein to mellow the astringency of red wine, as well as sunflower lecithin to smooth the texture.
This is the quickest method on the list: Just add a few drops to a glass of wine or an entire bottle, then swirl for 20 seconds. Because this option is faster and more discreet than other methods, it’s a good choice for restaurants and parties. However — while many reviewers say it doesn't alter the taste of the wine, sensitive palates might notice a change.
Each bottle of drops can remove sulfites from up to 55 glasses or nine bottles of wine, and you can purchase a single bottle of drops or opt for packs of two, four, six, or 22. The non-GMO drops are free of gluten, dairy, artificial colors, and sweeteners.
According to wine lovers: “I'm so pleased to have found something that makes wine drinking possible and enjoyable again! I have nothing but great things to say about the product. It's easy to use and very discreet."
3. These Sachets That Can Be Used On An Entire Bottle Of Wine
For a no-effort way to neutralize sulfites, just drop one of these sulfite remover sachets in a glass or decanter of wine. The sachets are filled with ingredients like coral algae and shells that the manufacturers state can naturally neutralize sulfites, and reviewers report that it does, in fact, work. However, it doesn't reduce tannins or histamines, and it's worth noting that some reviewers find that the sachets slightly alter the taste of wine.
Each sachet neutralizes four glasses of wine — just leave the sachet in your glass as you refill it and discard when you’re done. Choose from an 18-pack or 36-pack.
According to wine lovers: “Since I bought Wine Sensitive, I have used the sachets in separate bottles of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel. So far, so good! I’ve always had bad reactions to drinking wine normally, like a small or medium-sized headache after, but I haven’t had one since I started using Wine Sensitive.”
4. An Aerator That Softens Sulfites & Tannins While Enhancing Flavor
The Vinvoli wine aerator knocks out two birds with one stone: First, it oxygenates your wine to open it up and enhance the flavor, which is especially great for reds and white wines with big, bold flavors. Second, it softens sulfites and tannins — which, in addition to causing digestive issues for some people — can sometimes make wine bitter and astringent.
Made from glass with an acrylic pouring spout (that won't influence the taste of wine), the aerator can be used to serve individual glasses or to pour an entire bottle into a carafe. It's easy to rinse clean, and comes with a metal wine strainer to filter sediment, a storage stand, and a travel pouch.
Because you don’t have to buy replacements or refills, this is the most cost-effective option on the list in the long run, but it’s also the bulkiest and least portable, so it might not be your first choice for restaurants or dinner parties.
According to wine lovers: “Such a simple device made a world of difference especially with red wines. Definitely enhanced the flavor and actually eliminated the headaches I would sometimes get. I highly recommend this product!”